Connect with us
Israel Bonds RRSP

RSS

Photo Essay: 50,000 People Gather at Western Wall to Pray for Safe Return of Hostages in Gaza

Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer for the hostages in Gaza at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Photo: Yaacov Cohen

In an extraordinary display of unity, some 50,000 Jews from all walks of life gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Wednesday for a mass prayer calling for the safe return of the hostages held by the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

The Ashkenazi and Sephardic chief rabbis of Israel — David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, respectively — read Psalms together with the families of the hostages seized by Hamas terrorists during their Oct. 7 pogrom in the Jewish state.

The Ashkenazi and Sephardic chief rabbis of Israel, David Lau (far right) and Yitzhak Yosef (second from right). Photo: Yaacov Cohen

“A ruthless enemy, unfazed by anything, is out to destroy and murder all Jews, young and old alike, children and women included. We’ve suffered many losses in this war, and every person’s heart aches for those we’ve lost,” the chief rabbis said. “We must cry out and implore for the mercy of the heavens to keep the whole of Israel.”

The Ashkenazi and Sephardic chief rabbis of Israel, David Lau (far left) and Yitzhak Yosef (second from left). Photo: Yaacov Cohen

Held on the evening before the start of the Hebrew month of Shevat, also known as Minor Yom Kippur, the prayer included numerous shofar blasts, an apparent rallying cry to open the heavens.

Video credit: Jewish Breaking News

Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer for the hostages in Gaza at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Photo: Yaacov Cohen

The prayer drew activists holding posters of the hostages, as well as a diverse mix of Jews, including ultra-orthodox, religious Zionists, and secular Jews. One man, Amir, described himself as an atheist. “I may not believe in God but I think that the power of being here, with the people I was fighting just a few months ago, has the power to unleash miracles,” he told The Algemeiner, referencing the sparring sides of the judicial reform debate that tore the country apart in the months preceding the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.

Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer for the hostages in Gaza at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Photo: Yaacov Cohen

Hamas kidnapped 240 hostages during its Oct. 7 onslaught and murdered 1,200 people. There are 136 hostages still being held in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave ruled by Hamas. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has confirmed that 25 of those have died while in Hamas captivity. Over 100 captives were released during a temporary ceasefire in late November.

Rabbi David Stav, the chief rabbi of the city of Shoham and the chairman of the Tzohar organization, said: “We are breaking open the gates of heaven to bring home all our hostages and captives who are in the hands of the murderous and heinous terrorist organization that threatens to destroy us.”

Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer for the hostages in Gaza at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Photo: Yaacov Cohen

Several prayers and penitential liturgies, including those said during the High Holy Days, were recited for the hostages and for the IDF soldiers fighting in Gaza.

Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer for the hostages in Gaza at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Photo: Yaacov Cohen

Later on Wednesday, a prayer and solidarity event was held in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square, attended by Israeli performers Idan Raichel and Aaron Razel, as well as several prominent rabbis.

Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer for the hostages in Gaza at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Photo: Yaacov Cohen

“It was beautiful and moving and sad,” Levona Shneid, a teenager from Jaffa, told The Algemeiner. “We saw all kinds of people rise above any differences between them and just be together in this moment.”

Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer for the hostages in Gaza at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Photo: Yaacov Cohen

Watch video from Wednesday’s mass prayer at the Western Wall:

The post Photo Essay: 50,000 People Gather at Western Wall to Pray for Safe Return of Hostages in Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

RSS

‘American Leadership Will Not Waver’: Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan

US President Joe Biden addresses the nation on the Hamas onslaught against Israel. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

After months of negotiations, the Senate passed a $95.3 billion aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan on Tuesday by a vote of 70-29. 

The bill, if signed by President Biden, would provide $14 billion in military assistance to Israel to help it replenish the Iron Dome and weapons that can help it defeat Hamas. While US President Joe Biden supports the bill, it is not certain to pass the House of Representatives.

The aid package gives $9.2 billion for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, along with people in Ukraine and other war zones. However, it is well documented that much of the aid to Gaza does not reach Palestinian civilians but instead goes to Hamas.

The bill also provides about $5 billion toward countering Chinese aggression and $2.5 billion for fighting the Houthis as they continue to terrorize civilian ships in the Red Sea, disrupting global trade.

In the immediate aftermath of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the bill’s passage showed “that American leadership will not waver, not falter, not fail.” 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) said, in a statement, that “Our adversaries want America to decide that reinforcing allies and partners is not in our interest, and that investing in strategic competition is not worth it. They want us to take hard-earned credibility and light it on fire.”

“But today,” he wrote, “the Senate responded by reaffirming a commitment to rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current Commander-in-Chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interests.”

More progressive members of the Senate objected to funding Israel in its war against Hamas. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), called the idea of voting for Israel funding “unconscionable.” He wrote, “This bill provides Netanyahu $10 billion more in unrestricted military aid for his horrific war against the Palestinian people. That is unconscionable. I will vote NO on final passage.”

Some conservatives also voted against the bill because it did not include provisions to secure the U.S.’s southern border. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), released a statement making clear that while “It is important that Israel eradicates Hamas, that Taiwan remains resilient against China’s threats, and that Ukraine defeats Russia,” he would vote for the bill “only after America’s border is secured.”

The bill faces an uphill battle to pass in the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has suggested provisions will have to be added to secure the southern border for him to bring it to the floor for a vote.

He said, “House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border.“ 

Johnson continued, “In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.”

The post ‘American Leadership Will Not Waver’: Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

RSS

Police are investigating after a group of anti-Israel protesters targeted Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital

Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, a century-old Canadian medical institution originally built for Jewish doctors and patients who faced discrimination but which now treats all the city’s residents, became the latest target of anti-Israel protests on Feb.12. Protesters took over portions of southbound University Avenue with one individual climbing a scaffold and waving the Palestinian flag […]

The post Police are investigating after a group of anti-Israel protesters targeted Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

Continue Reading

RSS

Yeshiva Loses its Ninth Student in War in Gaza

Fallen Israeli soldier Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen. Source: Twitter/X

Israelis on Monday woke up to bittersweet news: the good was the successful rescue of two hostages from the Gaza Strip. The bad, that three soldiers, Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen, Lt. Col. Nathaniel Elkoubi, and Maj. Yair Cohen were killed in separate fighting in the Strip.

Chen, 27, from Kfar Saba, was a graduate of a religious Zionist yeshiva in southern Israel which has now lost nine students in the war against Hamas in Gaza.

“We wanted to believe that we had finished paying the heavy price,” the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Wolfson, told Hebrew media.

The yeshiva, Yeruham Hesder, is a program for observant Israelis who wish to combine regular military service with Torah study. A longer program than regular enlistments – five years total – there are thousands of students every year participating.

“We have lost a mainstay of the Beit Midrash (study hall). Ziv, as his name is, was all light,” Rabbi Wolfson added. “A loving and beloved man, I will bless you, everything he did was with infinite love. He loved people, loved the Torah, and everything he was involved in was done wholeheartedly.”

Chen was set to celebrate his wedding anniversary this upcoming Sunday with his wife Hillel, his family said.

At the funeral, held on Tuesday in his hometown, accompanied by hundreds of Israelis paying their respects, his uncle, Danny Chen, said about the fallen soldier: “He was a salt of the earth, a brilliant yeshiva student who loved the Land of Israel. He was a walking encyclopedia, very knowledgeable. Saturday night, two weeks ago, I saw him for the last time, always hugging and kissing. An exemplary child, a great loss. We are all shocked and hurt.”

The organization overseeing the Hesder yeshivot, the Hesder Yeshiva Association, released a statement that said, “We bitterly mourn the death of the soldier Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen, a fighter in the Givati ​​Brigade, student of the Hesder Yeshiva Yeruham, who fell in the war. On behalf of the leaders of the Hesder Yeshivas and all the rabbis and students, we embrace the family, the the rabbis of the yeshiva, its students and graduates, and pray for an overwhelming victory of our heroic soldiers over our vile and cruel enemies. May his soul be wrapped in the bundle of life.”

The three soldiers who perished on Monday were the victims of an IED explosion in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, where the IDF has been concentrating its fighting for the last few weeks.

As mentioned, Chen is the ninth soldier to fall during the war from the Yeroham Yeshiva. The other eight are: Sergeant Ariel Eliyahu, 19, Staff Sergeant Yanon Fleishman, 31, First Sergeant Eitan Dov Rosenzweig, 21, Captain Eitan Fish, 23, Sergeant Yakir Yedidia Shankolevsky, 21, Advanced Sergeant Gideon Ilani, 35, First Sergeant Elisha Levinstern, 38, and First Sergeant Ephraim Yachman, 21.

 

The post Yeshiva Loses its Ninth Student in War in Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News